Do you want changes in legislation around an issue but don’t know how to go about it? Become an informed citizen by finding out what you can ask of your local MP and why you should.
Rob Stokes is a member of the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) and represents the electorate of Pittwater in Parliament. He was interviewed for this piece.
A local Member for Parliament makes representations to Ministers on behalf of local organisations and individuals among other roles.
What can you ask your local MP?
Stokes lists, “rules related to COVID-19 restrictions, bus timetable queries, issues related to local schools, comments regarding legislation to be debated in Parliament, affordable housing queries, local Council issues and JP services” as some examples of reasons why his Electorate Office is contacted.
Actions in Parliament
You can ask your MP about an action relating to Bills, for example to vote for or against a certain Bill.
If you are concerned about the potential consequences of the Bill, you can ask your MP to initiate a committee inquiry into the bill.
This will allow for those who will be affected by the Bill the opportunity to raise their concerns in Parliament.
Other actions that can be carried out by an MP include raising your issue through a parliamentary speech, moving a motion, asking a question in Parliament or initiating a committee inquiry.
Actions within political parties
MP’s can raise your issue with the portfolio holder (i.e. the Ministers or Senators who look after departments such as Roads and Maritime Services or the Department of Education and Training), talk about your issue with their fellow MPs to raise awareness or raise the issue at a party meeting.
You can also ask your MP to change their party policy or to secure an election commitment from the party.
You can also ask to join their party.
Actions in the community
One of the easiest actions you can ask of your local MP for them to attend a local event relating to your cause. This may also help secure media coverage and you can ask them to issue a media release on the issue.
You can ask your MP to feature a specific story in their regular newsletter that is sent out to all residents within their electorate and you can request your MP provide a donation to a cause you feel strongly about.
Government and politics impacts nearly every aspect of our lives whether we like it or not. Become an informed voter and advocate for changes you want to see happen by contacting your local MP today.